The Reservation

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s been about two weeks now at the cabin, and it is growing on me, even though I know I will probably only have it for a month. After I leave, someone elses energies will mingle in this space, a different fire will be burned in the hearth, maybe more efficient than my own, new foods will stock the fridge, and the aromas will linger into the wood grain. I think about all the sentimental aspects of cabin living, usually, silence and solitude, sometimes the company of a few friends. Within these walls are more than furniture, there are memories that go beyond this solitary hut, to all other dwelling places I have chosen to inhabit, visited, or spent a night in along the way. As another traveling writer friend of mine wrote about mileage, they are times-stamps of memories, and the most permanent aspects that have importance.

I feel that I could view the history of places I’ve slept and lived on like a timeline going back in a line, one that would number over 100 strong in the past 4 years. Often these places take on behaviors and energies of their own, or aptly titled names. My Icelandic cabin ‘Hvammur’ had a name meaning something like ‘by the Bay’. The abandoned pick up truck with no axles I slept in while picking apples in Nova Scotia was dubbed the ‘whiskey bandit’ because I used to drink fireball before sleep to keep my blood warm,
as the frost would cover the windows in the morning and create quite the chill. In Vermont, a Faroese style cabin held the moniker of the ‘Hyggelig Hytte’ or cozy cabin, in Norse. When thinking I wanted to christen this cabin with a name, instantly ‘The Reservation’ came to mind. There was already some signage on the gate with ‘The Living End’ which I thought too dystopian, but The Reservation rather exemplifies the metaphysics of this cabin. Semi-off grid, no running water, no indoor anything, just an outhouse and a chemical toilet, not fully adequate for winter quarters because of insulation, located in a rather wealthy area, but situated down a dirt road from said urban affluence, in a large wooded land in various states of disregard, cut down, neglect and development. Yes, it has its downfalls, and I think Trump would probably knock it to the ground to build some hotel maybe, because it doesn’t match the rest of the houses. The Reservation stands for the free land, where animals can still roam, and the human being can focus on the being part of human. But even on the Reservation, there are limitations.

Image result for native reservation
The reservations are plots of land given to the First Nations where they are allowed to carry out restrictive cultural practices, and community lifestyles. But they are not adequate for living off the land, there is little to no big game, no wild orchards or clean water sources, and they live in a semi-primitive state. These were given  to them by the government because they didn’t want them on ‘crown’ land because it had resources like coal, uranium, gold, diamonds and copper. Thus, you either lived on the reservation with little, or were forced back into the cities with a decreased quality of LIFE.

But this is my chosen Reservation for now. I know I can not live here forever, it would not sustain me, but it is a place where I can feel the Indian spirit, through the warping colors of the trees, and the foraged earth, the shallow minnow pond, and the fresh air. If I want to make a brew, then I have to work for it, collect the twigs, and appropriate kindling for the job, throw in some birch-paper, and some moss then patiently blow on the flames, heat up the hearth and fill the pots with water, it takes about 25 minutes to get a good heat while the pots sit on the metal, then another 5 to steep the coffee in filters. I add some Quebec maple syrup, and it is a fine treat. I use it as a kind of social medicine, to take the shy edge off my persona, if I want to go to town. I tried fishing, after over a year of not being out on the water, didn’t catch anything and I think my pond is understocked. After dark, the nights are long, and lonesome. I use this time to heal my body and mind, stretching yogic routines besides a hot fire, meditation, and contemplation. I’m currently reading ‘A Walk in the Hindu Kush’, so my  mind can travel to landscapes beyond what I see out the window. Sometimes I’ll listen to an old Jazz album of Sun Ra or Pharoah Sanders, the frequencies fit will within these walls. I try to relax, and not ‘do’ much, by take time for being here, before I can’t. If I am bold enough to turn on the radio, I hear how the government is trying to dam the Muskrat Falls and river system in Labrador, and risking the safety of the water and the health of the Indigenous Innu and Nunatsiuvut. Of course, this is almost commonplace now. The program switches, and the story of young Native  Americans at the highest threat to suicide in Newfoundland. Nothing good to hear from The Reservation, what else is new. More people complaining about health care, because their medicines are not working, or the people of St. Johns voicing political and social welfare issues. I try to help, to put myself out there for service, attend the Native Friendship Centre, offer work for the community, and I don’t seem to get anywhere.
I am forced to turn the radio off again and return to here and now. The smell of woodsmoke, the howling wind, a far of croak of a raven and a sight of a whirring blue jay. The knowledge of this endtime, maybe the original moniker was more of a satire? Would these be the last places people try to eke out a living when the cities are taken back by the primordial grasses  breaking through concrete, and civilizations fail. I put on a nature documentary from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and let him offer an opinion from beyond the grave. There are not many other worlds to talk to besides our own. I guess that’s a segway into next week. Life’s pretty rough without money, and I need to keep myself busy with something if I will ever get to Australia. I have been quietly mapping out this move since February, and I have until next July to make it happen, but I don’t want it to take that long. I sit in the cabin, thinking, watching the flames and I don’t know where I’m going next, but just know I need to wait.

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